“You must try the falafel! It’s so good,” Sourena Afshar, a dapper man with elegant, elongated eyeglasses and a carefully trimmed goatee. The owner, with his wife Shadi, of Shish-Kabob, is excited about the food he serves, and with reason. The falafel, crisp and crunchy with a hint of exotic spice, is superb, and so are other Middle Eastern appetizers like the sprightly tabouli and smoky baba ganoush. But it’s the Persian dishes that are the stars at this cozy, welcoming corner of east Tulsa. Growing up in Tehran, Shadi was schooled in cooking by her mother and sisters and, Sourena admits, “I learned from my mom, too.”
The Iranian food you’ll eat here is a blend and synthesis of these family recipes. Try the lamb shank: “It’s unique,” says Sourena. Small yet meaty lamb shanks specially ordered from California are simmered for three hours. Impossibly tender and bursting with flavor, the shanks are accented by the subtle blend of spices and tomato in the sauce. The fluffy rice that accompanies the lamb is a delicious meal on its own. It’s cooked in the Iranian fashion: first soaked, then boiled, then drained and finally steamed. This fabulous rice comes with all entrees, including the stews for which Iranian cuisine is famous. Ghormeh sabzi, one such stew, is a piquant blend of spinach, parsley, cilantro, dry lemon and fenugreek.
“I cook the best ghormeh sabzi you’ll ever find,” declares Shadi. True to the name, there’s a full range of kebabs. The koobideh features minced meat, onions and a secret blend of spices which, Sourena assures us will make all other kebabs seem tasteless. 11605 E. 31st St., Tulsa. 918.663.9383